Our Research Agenda

A teacher helping a student with an assignment at his deskThe Project on the Next Generation of Teachers is an ongoing research project addressing critical questions about the future of the nation’s teaching force.

Since 1998, we have conducted research about teachers and their work, with the findings of each study informing the next.  Initially, as a large cohort of new teachers entered joined the teaching force,we inquired about their career plans, preparation, and work experiences. We learned that their teaching and job satisfaction were substantially influenced by thei quality of the work environment in their school.

We then started to deeply explore teachers' work in the context of their schools.  In 2008 we studied teachers who were part of the same earlier cohort of noivces as they reached the second stage of their career (years 4-10).  We investigated their experiences in 14 low-income schools lcoated in 3 underperforming districts.  As part of that study, we analyzed these second-stage teachers' interest and experience in becoming teacher leaders. Further, we explored how the generational change in the teaching force influenced the priorities and practices of local teacher union presidents. 

Informed by our analysis of teachers' responses to a statewide survey about working conditions, we then investigated how teachers at all career stages were affected by their work envioronment. All of the schools we studied served low-income communitites.  In 2010-2011, we studied a diverse sample of six district schools.  The schools differed in thow teacher rated them as work environments and in the academic performance of their students on state tests.  Then in 2014-2015 we hoped to identify and describe model practices for supporting teachers' work. We studied a sample of six low-income schools (3 district and 3 charter), all of which had achieved academic success with students and had received the highest rating in the state's accountability system.  Throughout these studies of the context of teachers' work, we identified how the principal's leadership and school-based practices affected teachers' work and satisfaction.  In connection with these studies,  we  have investigated policies that substantially influence teachers' work and satisfaction, including Peer Assistance and Review and alernatie pay systems.

These studies are described in the pages below.